El Alto ĕl äl´tō [key], city (2001 pop. 649,958), La Paz dept., W Bolivia. A burgeoning suburb of La Paz that became a city in 1988, El Alto is on a plateau overlooking the capital from the west. Although predominantly poor and residential, the city is a commercial center and has light industries; La Paz's international airport is there. The city has grown enormously since the 1980s. The largely Aymara inhabitants of El Alto were in the forefront of sometimes violent protests against privatization and other government market-oriented plans during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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